There’s serious momentum in Sound Transit’s light rail work from Northgate to Lynnwood.
Some elevated track base is built, the Lynnwood Transit Center is a construction zone for a light rail station, and the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center Freeway Station is about to close for several months for similar work. (Don’t worry, the parking garage will remain open and free shuttles will run between the transit center and downtown Seattle.)
North of that, work on the Everett Link extension is ongoing, though in the engineering and planning stage for now.
In April, I wrote about Snohomish County’s early planning and selection of preferred station locations for the Ash Way and Mariner stations near I-5.
It drew the interest of Lynnwood reader James Robert Deal, who wondered about the first planned stop of the Everett Link extension.
“Where exactly will the West Alderwood station be? At Alderwood mall?” he asked.
It’s a simple question. But the answer is complicated.
The short response: I don’t know the West Alderwood station’s address. But it’s not just my ignorance. Nobody knows the specific site yet.
“It is still early in the process,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said in an email. “The exact location will be determined as part of the planning process, which will include public input.”
When voters approved Sound Transit Proposition 1, called ST3 for short, in 2016, the plan was for six stations along 16 miles of track from Lynnwood to Everett. Those stations were described in general areas, but not exact locations.
Part of the ambiguity is because the project allows for local influence as to where a station can best serve people.
The area around planned stations has developed intensely so far in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, and signs of that in Everett are happening now, years from when they’ll open. That means it’s about more than just moving people, and it often becomes an issue of development and density.
Prior to the passage of ST3, the Lynnwood City Council issued a resolution that included its preference for a station “in the vicinity of 33rd Avenue West and 188th Street Southwest.”
That area is near the southwest corner of Alderwood mall property.
There’s a lot of work ahead for Sound Transit, which will work with Snohomish County, Lynnwood and Everett to determine the precise track alignment and station sites.
“This is trying to find all of the issues, not trying to duck them,” Sound Transit board member and Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts said.
An example: The Ash Way station at 164th Street Southwest could be on either side of I-5. The county weighed in and said it wants the station on the east side because it’s closer to the Interurban Trail and farther from apartments and other developments already built on the west side.
Despite the uncertainty of when and where light rail stations will be built, they must be built, because voters approved them four years ago.
It’ll take years, but eventually the Sound Transit board will review a handful of station alternatives and choose a location.
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